Florida’s recent struggles over masks in schools augur a terrifying shift in the right’s approach to education policy.

New story up at The New Republic:

This May, in a speech at Michigan’s deeply conservative Hillsdale College, Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran sketched out a few principles for Republicans to follow. Conservatives, he said, should no longer consider the primary purpose of school to be training students for employment; instead, they should see it as instilling moral values. When it comes to America’s bitterest ideological fights, “the war will be won in education.” And finally, while Republican education policies had played a vital role in advancing “school choice,” the next step was to get so many families to flee public schools that no future administration would be able to undo the damage.

On one hand, the speech was red meat for a red meat crowd: a politician who made his name attacking teachers’ unions speaking at a school partly funded by former education secretary—and public education foe—Betsy DeVos. But Corcoran’s remarks are also something of a key to making sense of Florida’s tumultuous start to the school year and what it means for the fate of public education in the rest of the country.

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